Cornerstone Insurance @ 30: highlight its roles in insurance business development

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As Cornerstone Insurance Plc celebrates it’s 30 years in operations, it is imperative to highlight some of the values and attributes that sustained the firm thus far and its contributions to the growth of the insurance business in Nigeria.

Evolution of Cornerstone Insurance started when it was incorporated on 26 July, 1991 as a private limited liability company, later Cornerstone Insurance Plc rose to became a public limited liability company in six years that quoted on the then Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1997 but now  Nigerian Exchange. The firm was established to conduct insurance business in a professional, ethical and customer-focused manner. As part of its corporate brand strategy, the company implemented a re-branding exercise, part of which was the unveiling of the new corporate identity for the company in 2008 to position itself as a leader in the industry.

To deepening it’s operations the Company was licensed and re-certified by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to do both General and Life businesses. As at today, the Company underwrite the following: Motor Vehicle, Aviation, Marine, Engineering All Risks, Asset Protection, Liability to Third Party, Oil & Gas, Group Life, Credit Life, Mortgage Protection,Term Assurance, Wealth Creation Products and Takaful (Islamic Insurance) among others.

Still with historical operations, the company further strength it’s efforts to transform the industry with first to offered both general and family Takaful products approved by NAICOM.

As at December 31, 2019, the company’s records showed Authorized Share Capital and Market Capitalization stood at N7.5 billion and N5 billion respectively, while the Shareholders’ Funds was N10.5 billion. The total assets of the company are in excess of N29.3 billion.

As a financial advisory super house, Cornerstone Group boasts of other subsidiaries that are making great strides in their different business segments. The subsidiaries are: Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria Ltd; Cornerstone Financial Services and Cornerstone Leasing and Investments Limited.

Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria Ltd

As a dynamic, innovative and customer-focused organization, Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria Limited, a segregated division of cornerstone group, which complies with the Shariah guideline, is the first licensed provider of Family and General Takaful products in Nigeria. Cornerstone Takaful Nigeria Limited Takaful Products are based on the Principle of Islamic insurance.

Cornerstone Financial Services

In a bid to deepen its footprints in the financial services sector, Cornerstone on the 4th of March 2003 incorporated a Financial Services (CFS) and investment banking arm of the Group called Cornerstone Leasing and Investments Limited.  It is a fully owned subsidiary of Cornerstone Group duly licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to operate as a non-bank financial institution engaged in the provision of value-added financial services to its esteemed customers. The company’s spectrum of customers includes multinationals, small and medium scale businesses and High Networth Individuals (HNIs). The firm engages in lending and fund management services tailored to suit customers’ needs.

Mr. Ganiyu Musa, Group MD, Cornerstone Insurance Plc

Technology-Driven Services

For Cornerstone Insurance Plc, there is no doubt that its services are technology driven by cutting edge Insurance applications. These services are accessible with ease through the internet or mobile devices by integrating all classes of insurance businesses up to their financial statements with this superior technology backbone. The technology solution suite includes a collaborator which not only allows clients, agents and brokers to have access to their information but can also initiate and manage their business records.

These facilities allow for more efficient documentation, instant quotes, payments and efficient claims management through direct online access for the convenience of its valued clients. Indeed, Cornerstone Insurance Plc. is the first insurance company in Nigeria to provide customers with an online platform for insurance transactions. Hence in 2016, the Nigerian Technology Awards adjudged the firm as the Insurance Company with the ‘Best Use of Technology.

Cornerstone Insurance provides qualitative and professional services in all classes of insurance business namely: General Insurance & Risk Management Solutions; Personal & Group Life Assurance Solutions and Deposit Administration & Investment Management Solutions.

General Insurance Business

Some of the products under this segment include Fire, Accident, Motor Vehicle, Marine, Workmen’s Compensation, Goods-In-Transit, Engineering All Risk, Individual Gold Package, Estate Insurance, Owner’s Occupier Liability, Building Liability Insurance, Cornerstone Business Assured Cover,  Gadget Protection Plan, Combined Fire and Burglary Insurance, Professional Indemnity, Home Insurance and Oga Boy.

Life Assurance Business

Some products under this segment include Children Education Fund (CHEF), Maximum Investment Plan (MIP), Foresight Personal Pension Plan (FPP), Cornerstone Universal Policy, Capital Builder, School Fees Plan, Group Life, Oil & Gas Funeral Plan, Immediate Annuity, Keyman Policy,  Credit Life Assurance, Social Club Protection Plan, Mortgage Protection Plan and Term Assurance.

During the period under review, Cornerstone Insurance continues to demonstrate great commitment to delivering bold new values through need-based products and quality service, so as to give its teeming customers the confidence to move into the future.

 

The year 2020 Financial Performance

The Chairman, Board of Directors of Cornerstone Group, Mr Segun Adebanji  said despite the challenging environment, the Gross Premium Written of Cornerstone Insurance and its subsidiaries (“Cornerstone Group” or “the Group”) for the year under review is N17.53 billion, representing an increase of 34% over the previous year.

According to him, “The year’s global and domestic economic events had significant repercussions for the financial services sub-sector in Nigeria. The Board and Management of your Company however acted proactively to minimize the effects on our financial performance. Our financial performance can also be attributed to our focus on strengthening our enterprise risk management framework over the past few years.

“Premiums from life insurance grew from N3.84 billion in the previous year to N5.54 billion in 2020 and accounted for 31% of Gross Premium Written. The largest contributors to General Business Gross Premium Written were (i) Oil, Gas & Aviation, (ii) Engineering & (iii) Motor classes, contributing N3.53 billion, N2.86 billion and N1.52 billion respectively.

“Our investment portfolios also yielded positive performance figures, driven mainly by the effect of changes in foreign exchange rates and also from sales of foreign currency denominated assets during the year. Investment and Treasury activities contributed N3.73 billion to overall revenue.

“The gross claims ratio for the year stood at 41% and has been relatively stable year on year since the Company put in place stricter risk acceptance parameters. “Even though the overall ratio of claims to revenue has remained relatively stable, the effects of the Q4 2020 protests are clearly noticeable in our financial statements, as non-life gross claims incurred increased by 62% when compared with the previous year and gross claims from the fire class specifically rose by 85%, from N816 million in 2019 to N1.51 billion.

“Personnel and other operating costs dropped by close to 7% as Management executed remote working protocols and other measures to safeguard the welfare of staff. Our investment in a robust nationwide technology infrastructure over the years ensured that normal operations were carried out unabated.

“Consequently, our Group ended the year with a profit before tax of N1.76 billion.”

 

Company’s 2021 Outlook

On the outlook of the company, Mr Segun Adebanji said:  “While 2021 may not be a year for expansion, it is a year in which we are discovering new strengths and capabilities as the world embraces new ways of working and communicating through technology. Your Board, therefore, anticipates new opportunities for the insurance industry and for Cornerstone as we venture into this new normal.”

“In Cornerstone, we believe the market is changing and should be served differently. Therefore, we seek to adapt our offerings to meet the specific needs of our diverse customers.  We focus on the integrity of our service and leverage extensive use of technology in product development and service delivery.

These qualities set us apart from other insurance companies and have placed us on the path to a leadership position in the industry.

We were the very first to introduce the mass market products where we have over one million customers; the first company to offer both family and general Takaful insurance products in the market; the first company to have an online platform that allows you to manage transactions from end to end, among others.

These are some of the values that make us unique and set us apart from other companies.”

Reason to Believe

Service excellence is the hallmark of Cornerstone Insurance Plc and prompt claims settlement has become synonymous with the company’s name and the company has continued to do everything within it powers to meet its obligations to policyholders through prompt settlement of genuine claims.

Strategic Partnership/Reinsurance Treaties

In a bid to provide world class products and services Cornerstone leverages its network to access proven expertise and competencies available in today’s globalised world. Because some risks require a broader approach involving international institutions, such partnerships expand the scope of capabilities the company is able to offer its clients by engaging reputable re-insurers whose international spread gives the company the assurance it need to underwrite the risks of its customers.

 

In the past 30 years the company has continued to strengthen its reinsurance capabilities through strategic partnership with world-class reinsurance companies including Swiss Re, Africa Re, ContinentalRe, Mapfre.

Awards and Recognitions

Between 1995 and 2019, the company’s award and recognition profiles have continued to swell. In 1995, the firm won the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) Merit Award; won Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) Distinguished Insurer Award in 1997; in 1999, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM)  honoured the company with Award for Product Design and Development; in 2002, the Company won the Nigerian Financial Technology Magazine Awards for Best Use of IT, in Insurance  Services;  in 2013, the firm was honoured with the Nigerian CSR Awards (SERAs) for Best Company in Partnership for Development and won LEAD Africa Awards for Best Insurance Company in Risk Management in 2013.

Other awards are Nigeria Technologies Awards for Best Insurance Company Website of the Year -2015; Lagos Chamber of Company and Industry Awards for Best Online Insurance Company of  the Year – 2015;  Nigerian CSR Awards (The SERAs) for Best Company in Community Involvement – 2015; Special Recognition at the International Conference on Islamic Finance for Best Takaful Provider Company of the Year – 2015; Nigerian Risk Awards for Best Insurance and Pension services  – 2016; African Insurance Awards for Most Innovative Insurance Company – 2016; Nigerian Technology Awards for Best use of Social Media, Insurance Company – 2016; Nigerian Technology Awards for Best use of Technology, Insurance Company – 2016 & 2017; Nigerian Technology Awards for Best Insurance Company website – 2017; Africa Quality Congress for Africa Most Outstanding Quality Life Insurance Company of the Year – 2018 and in 2019 it was honoured by Nigeria Media Nights Awards for Most Consistent and Reliable Insurance Company of the Year.

Corporate Citizenship

As a corporate member of the society, Cornerstone Insurance considers these values integral to its business; serving the customers with integrity, helping employees succeed professionally and doing all it can to uplift its communities and improve its environment. These are the ideals of citizenship; which the company strive to live by every day.

Clientele

Cornerstone prides itself with a diversified customer base that cuts across different sectors of the Nigerian economy including conglomerates, manufacturing, religion, banking and financial institutions, imports, oil and gas,  e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods, retails, telecommunications and government Institutions, agencies and parastatals.

The Company’s Board of Directors

Cornerstone Insurance prides itself with the Board of Directors that is composed of a highly experienced team of professionals from various sectors of the economy. Therefore, the formulation of the Company’s policy is handled by a competent and dynamic board – a mix of executive and non-executive directors who are experts in their own areas. The board is equally supported by a robust management team.

The board comprises Segun Adebanji (Chairman);  Ganiyu Musa (Group Managing Director/CEO);  Steve Iwenjora; Anthony Egbuna;  Elizabeth Ngozi Amadiume; Ekwunife Okoli; Tokunbo Bello and Chidiebere Nwokeocha.

Those involve in the day to day running of the company are Ganiyu Musa Group Managing Director /CEO; Tokunbo Bello; Executive Director, Technical/Operations; Chidiebere Nwokeocha, Executive Director, Business Development; Charles Nwachukwu, General Manager, Institutional Business Division; Dan-Olufemi Olayinka, Chief Technology Officer; Amanwa, Oluwafunmilayo Joy, Head, Central Claims & Special Risk Underwriting;

Others are  Kehinde Olorundare, Chief Financial Officer; Oduntan, Omodayo Theresa; Head, Corporate Services Group; Olude, Oludare, Head, Oil And Gas; Foster-Aileru Adewale Emmanuel, Head, Strategy, Enterprise Risk Management & Investor Relations; Lawuyi, Jonathan Babatunde, Head, Product Development & Channel Innovation; Thaibat Adeniran, Head, Halal Takaful Nigeria and Pascal Nwachukwu Head, Finance and Performance Measurement Group.

Ganiyu Musa’s appointment as NIA Chairman

The Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) on June 25, 2020, elected the Group Managing Director, Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Ganiyu Musa as its 24th Chairman during the association’s virtual 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Speaking during the ceremony, Musa urged stakeholders to work together to redeem the industry’s poor image, adding that such cooperation would enable them to maximise the untapped potential in the economy and raise confidence level.

Ganiyu Musa, unveiled a nine-point agenda, with the hope of taking the insurance industry to lofty heights.

According to him, the association is determined to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure the passage of the Consolidated Insurance Bill for the sector’s development.

He said, the organisation would work with stakeholders to address restrictive laws on insurance practice; work with partners such as the Financial Inclusion Secretariat to ensure greater insurance awareness to achieve seamless migration to IFRS 17.

Musa maintained that the administration would look inwards to take advantage of the untapped potential demand for insurance in Nigeria, stressing that this would increase the insurance business.

Branch Network

Within the review period, Cornerstone Insurance Plc. has increased its branches and outlets across the country to 16.

Thirty years after, the company remains unrelenting and magnanimously demonstrating unfettered commitment towards the Nigerian insurance industry growth to engender national economic emancipation.


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